The Journey as Portrayed by Four Artists (Part 3)

In my two previous posts I presented two paintings situated around the dining table.  The first painting, by Van Gogh, expresses the satisfaction of the most basic of needs – food and warmth.  In the painting this basic need is satisfied through the family.  I then presented a painting by Brueghel the Elder in which the first need for food is satisfied as well as the second need for safety, which is provided by the community as well as the family.

In this post I would like to present a third painting, a painting by Renoir.  This third painting, also centered around the dining table, expresses not only the satisfaction of the first need for food as well as the second need for safety, but the third need for belongingness and a place among one’s friends.

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir


This painting is a magnificent depiction of sociability: friendship at its most sophisticated and glorious.  This one painting, with its colors, food, wine, and conversation, perhaps best represents the satisfaction of the belongingness need for most people today.  However, it differs from the Brueghel the Elder painting in that the characters are much less interested in eating (that need has been satisfied) and are less concerned with the safety of their surroundings (that need has also been satisfied).  What is driving the action is the need to satisfy one’s sense of belonging and place within society. 

Unlike the previous two paintings, there is a sense of flow among the characters.  The characters appear to be distant from the cares and anxieties of the everyday world.  All of them are enjoying the moment as a reward in and of itself.  There is no further motive than to enjoy the friendship of others.

This painting differs from the Brueghel painting in that the characters are interacting with one another, lost in the moment, rather than side-by-side each other in the same room with each expressing their own place in life.

Up next, the final painting along the Journey.



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